This Week’s Book Notes – Mini Reviews and Jottings by Sarah

You know what I hate more than not having time to read?

Not having time (or making time?) to write about what I read.

I’ve been doing a fair job of keeping Goodreads updated with what I’m reading and what I’ve read, but I’m not always so great at putting in notes.

Julie had told me that she uses the update feature to jot notes about the books. I’ve done that for a few recent reads, but it’s still imperfect. I’m mostly too lazy to get up off the couch in the evenings to get my iPad and jot them down.

I know I could just copy the reviews I already post at my blog here, but…well, that‘s no fun.

So this week, I thought I’d try something that I may or may not be able to keep up with: jotting down notes of what I’ve been reading this week and my thoughts about them. I’ll also link to any reviews I’ve posted.

Maybe I’ll even keep going with this. (Maybe not. I make no promises, as Destructoboy’s in the background doing…well, nevermind what he’s doing.)

The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc, by Kimberly Cutter - Fiction, 4 out of 5 stars

Recently, I started a little fiction book club with some mom friends who love to read. One of them suggested this book to me months ago, and  I finally picked it up because we’re getting together to discuss it.

It took me to 27% to really want to continue reading it, but after then, I was plotting to try to eke out more reading time each day (unsuccessfully, mind you, but the desire was there).

It was really violent, and I wouldn’t just hand it to my nieces (who range in age from 16 to 12). That said, it was storytelling done well, and though I sort of knew what would happen (She dies, right? We all know that.), I didn’t know how and there were plenty of other characters to keep my attention.

This book also gave me insight a bit into how the life of a saint might be perceived in their time. It felt modern in many ways, but maybe that’s because human nature is human nature.

Highly recommended.

To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal – Nonfiction/Christian Living, 4 out of 5 stars

I read this for the Patheos book club and reviewed it at length at my place.

I expected to roll my eyes and suffer through it and was more than pleasantly surprised. It was a fast read (which I appreciated) and even entertaining. I think Dr. Neal is someone I could have a drink with (and it might even be a drink with some good stuff in it) and not mind conversing with into the night.

It’s one of those unbelievable tales about going to Heaven and coming back. I have a stash of doubt, but I always do, even when I read what the saints have written.

I enjoyed it, regardless. And even though one of my commenters mentioned that she accepts necromancy and the Devil, I shrug. It was a good story. Don’t base your faith on it, but not a bad read.

Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1), by Shannon Hale – YA Fiction, currently reading

This was faced out at the library, and knowing how much nonfiction was waiting for me, I grabbed it. I also recognized Shannon Hale as the author of a novel I loved last year, The Actor and the Housewife. I’m four chapters deep and loving it. I can’t wait to share it with the nieces!

The Good Pope and His Great Council: A Biography of Saint John XXIII and Vatican II, by Greg Tobin – Biography, currently reading

Two of my friends shared that they started this and couldn’t even get a few chapters in. I’m trying not to think of that as I read it. Usually I’m not a biography-reader (or maybe it’s more accurate to say I’m not an enjoyer of biographies). I am curious about John XXIII, though, so I’m going to do my best to make it through this.

That said, I’m not afraid to put it down if it’s too “hard.” Much as I love John Paul II, I just couldn’t, could not, read George Weigel’s second biography. (I blame the kids. I mean, why not? They haven’t given me my brain back.)

Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, by Tullian Tchividjian – Christian Life/Spiritual Growth, currently reading

Got this one courtesy of the Patheos Book Club and after reading the 27-page introduction, I’m actually looking forward to continuing. It doesn’t seem to be too heavily written (which is not to say suffering isn’t–or shouldn’t be–a heavy topic) and I think I’m going to enjoy it (which is why I wanted to read it in the first place).

How about you? What did YOU read this week?

Book Review: Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer Adler
Book Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
P.G. Wodehouse, Free books!, Amazon, and Hats-in-Church
The Immediate Book Meme – Jen’s Answers
About Sarah Reinhard

Looking for Sarah Reinhard? Chances are she's hiding from her kids with her nose in a book...which is just too bad for the housework and cooking. Her greatest delight of late is how her kids are becoming bigger bibliophiles than she is. (And she's really only a beginner and a hack at that.) She’s online at SnoringScholar.com, CatholicMom.com, and is the author of a number of books.

  • S.

    1. Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris. My 8 year old has always loved elephants. (I believe it is because they are smart and gentle like she is). This book is set in Thailand where Tua rescues an abused Elephant and bravely takes her on a journey to an Elephant sanctuary. It is a great read aloud story for 6 to 10 year olds. There are drawings about ever 20 pages which is a nice bonus. And it is an AR book, for kids who take the AR tests in school.

    2. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I am halfway in and I bring it with me every where to try and get a few more pages in. It is a fantastic story of a woman trying to uncover the mystery of how her late grandmother ended up abandoned on a dock in Australia in 1913 when she was 4 years old. To unlock the mystery she travels to England to discover her family roots. The book moves between 2005, 1975,1913 and 1900. Thankfully all the time hopping is not a distraction but makes the story much more exciting.

    3. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I love Isabel but I know her end and it makes me sad.

    • http://snoringscholar.com Sarah Reinhard

      S, you have my attention. Those books sounds…GREAT! Thanks for taking the time to share them.

      I’m not sure if I should thank you for adding to my to-read list, except that yes, I do love having good recommendations on my list. So. Ha! ;)